Electricity from the land, vegetables from the city?

In two consecutive presentations this week, we heard how we are turning farmland into solar farms, which we are giving back to wildlife, so they are also habitats and bee-keepers – sustainable – and in cities, we are creating 5-story vertical farms, where we grow crops with LED lighting, in a sterile environment, super-intensive, chemical-free.

We feed its waste to beetles, feed them to chickens and fish and produce basic food sustainably.

So we produce electricity on the land,
and vegetables in the cities.

In order to achieve climate neutrality, it seems that in the future we will need to disrupt the way we live and think today while maintaining our competitiveness and quality of life.

At BuildEXT, we contribute to this through the digitalization of the construction industry, but yesterday, at the BCSDH Race to Zero workshop in our office, we were able to look at sustainability efforts from a new perspective: that of eco-friendly solar parks that also serve as beehives.

In fact, 95% of the area of the giant solar parks is actually undeveloped and can/should be used for something.

The domestic power plant fleet is aging rapidly and its capacity is shrinking rapidly, with national consumption growing by 1% every year. Meanwhile, domestic photovoltaic capacity will be doubled by the end of the decade, leading to the installation of thousands of hectares of large-scale solar parks across the country.

We will do this mainly in areas where intensive, monoculture farming has already degraded the basic state of the environment or where special natural values have not been present in the past.

But solar parks operate for 25-30 years, which is a long time to plan properly and make the future of the sites positive.

Because, for example, no chemicals have been used on the land that has been taken out of arable production during this quarter of a century. This rests and cleans topsoil, improves soil water balance, which increases biodiversity, returns animals to their natural habitat, and restores the natural order – for example, bees appear. In addition, local tax revenues will increase, and ragweed will disappear, so everyone really will be better off.

Solar parks are becoming beehives.

(Photo credit: SolServices)

How this can be achieved in the most efficiently managed way is the subject of a white paper produced by Solservices, an industry collaboration for the development of next-generation solar parks. Which is quite unique in Europe, given that even further west of us there is no such comprehensive paper highlighting more than just 1 or 1 ecological area.

The white paper makes practical recommendations: what plant communities to consider or how to make solar parks animal-friendly with minimal effort (for example, leaving gaps for small mammals at the base of concrete fences). All of this, of course, together with a list of the relevant legislation, conservation databases, organizations, contact details, and other resources.

It can help to promote and enhance these positive effects, so that, with very little investment, the land can be managed from the start of the investment to ensure that the principles of organic farming are applied from the first cut.

Although the world seems to be turning upside down, humanity seems to be adapting and simply putting things in a new place.

All that is needed is a building of biotechnological plant purity and complexity, solar power plants, and additional investments.

Csaba Melovics

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